Panic attacks in children are often identified in their very early years and these attacks can often plague them from the early stages of life right through into adulthood. This can be particularly frustrating and worrying for parents too, especially in very young children who have not yet developed full speech and are unable to communicate their feelings clearly. This can often lead to parents punishing their children as the anxiety may manifest itself as a tantrum and the child may appear to be acting up on purpose.
It's important then that as parents, we need to be able to recognize these early symptoms of anxiety disorder or panic attacks so we can best act on getting them the proper care and support needed. Parents also need to be understanding of their child's condition and look to show support rather than chastising their children for what seems on the surface to be quite unacceptable behavior.
It's naturally a very painful experience having to witness your children having to cope with this anxiety and anguish, but by learning more about the symptoms and causes of panic attacks, the knowledge and understanding a parent can gain is invaluable in enabling them to help and support their child and their condition. Rather than feeling helpless when these attacks can occur, instead a parent can learn to cope and in turn calm a situation. These attacks and anxieties may start to increase in your young child and the uncertainty as to when they can strike and often put a downer on even the simplest of outings.
Children's reaction and coping with panic can lead to tantrums and a flailing of limbs, which means they may lash out at those closest to them. In turn they also run the risk of hurting themselves when in the middle of a particularly terrifying attack. They may also lash out verbally and speak to you in a way you would not normally expect them to, however these are all natural reactions to anxiety or panic. Try and make a note of what they say and any other extraordinary behavior and keep a journal of events.
By documenting your observations, these notes can then be used to better understand the patterns that occur and may be causing the stress in your child. Make notes of where you were, what your child was doing, what they were saying and who else was around at the time it happened. By doing this, Health Professionals will be able to better identify what may be triggering these attacks, and in turn can identify the appropriate treatments that may be required. Anxiety and Panic in children can often be triggered by events or experiences in school, relationships with friends, family issues, and can also be a result of something
You do not need to look far and you will find numerous online support groups and forums that are available for parents to discuss, share and advise on their experiences with anxiety and panic attacks in their children. It is very important that your child knows that they are not in the wrong and that you are there for them to support and help them through what is a very stressful and alarming time for them. Take control of the situation (and by this I mean a compassionate and understanding attitude) and let your child know that you are there for them, and also to help them overcome their condition.
It is very important that your child understands that none of this is 'their fault'. Without the support of an understanding parent, these continued attacks can give your child incredibly low self esteem and self worth. When you recognize the symptoms, then you can better prepare yourself for those moments when they start to have abnormally. Rather than reaching out to restrain them when they are throwing a tantrum, make sure you can ease the situation and help them calm down sooner. It is also very important to keep reminding yourself that this is in no way a reflection on you as a parent. Instead panic and anxiety in children is a recognized disorder that can be treated and can be cured.
Hang on in there and be with them to help them overcome their anxiety and stress. Remain patient while you work together with your child to find a remedy or solution that will finally see them free from their anguish. Whilst distracting at first, once you can understand the 'why' this is happening, it's easier to concentrate on the 'how' you can help them get better.